Speculations are flying around town that the new generation of Penguin update, aka Penguin 2.0, is on its way and getting ready to attack and haunt spammy link builders. If you haven’t looked at your backlink profile for your website or blog for more than six months, procrastinate no more! Now is the key time to interrogate your backlink profiles and they shall reveal…

The History: What is Penguin Update?

Google launched Penguin update back in April 2012 as an initial release, and the last update we had on record took place in October 2012. These Google penguins were sent on a mission: to better catch sites considered to be engaged in spammy link building tactics, mostly through buying backlinks from link networks that exist primarily to boost Google rankings.

When will Penguin 2.0 hit?

Google’s Matt Cutts mentioned on Twitter on 10th May that the new generation Penguin will be rolling out in the next few weeks. Matt also called this update ‘very significant’ which sounds like it will send a wave that ripples through the SEO industry.

Now ask yourself (or your SEO agency) below questions and they should give you an idea of how ready you are for the next run of Penguin attack:

Are you backlinks pointing from ‘good neighbourhoods’?

To start your backlink analysis, try plotting a link graph that shows the IP adressess of where your backlinks come from. Most sites that use manipulative methods to rank better will be obtaining links from areas of link graph associated with other sites doing the same. Vice versa, site networks that sell links in large scale will be associated with numerous websites that show low relevancy to their own niches. This can be a relatively easy way of how Google detects link selling networks and sites that engage them for building links.

Does the volume of your backlinks build up gradually over time?

To answer this question you’ll need to look at your link velocity chart. Any significant spikes in backlink volume within a short timeframe can be a warning signal, as your site might be screaming to the Google’s penguins that you manipulate backlinks. If you engage an SEO agency for link building, make sure that any work they carry out is ongoing and consistent to avoid any ‘spikes’ in link velocity. Of course, there are exceptional cases. Any brand campaigns, online giveaways or breaking news from the organization will naturally lead to spikes in backlinks.

How does your anchor text distribution look like?

“When I look for spam, the first place I look is around exact match anchor text from websites with a DA (domain authority) of 30 or less,” said Distilled’s John Doherty. “That’s where most of it is hiding.” If this sounds like how your backlink profile looks, apart from removing low quality links manually, consider using ‘white noise’ anchor text to balance the mix. This includes anchor text such as ‘click here’, ‘website’ and ‘check them out’ which should form a part of any natural-looking backlink profile.

Are you being social?

Need I say more on getting presence on social channels? While there are ongoing debates about how Google will incorporate authorship to determine SERPs, it’s never to late to start pointing G+, Facebook and Twitter links to your website consistently to ensure a ‘healthy-looking’ backlink profile supported by social buzz.


So how ready are you for the arrival of Penguin 2.0? Have you started reviewing your backlink profile in preparation for a possible shake up on rankings?